Review from FormerArmchairQuarterback.
As a former professional reviewer who’s worked with (not for) many electronics companies and major Hollywood studios, I find I have a lot to say about my first experience with TWC, but I’ll try not to get too long winded. I can’t commend TKC highly enough for their ambition and acumen to offer customizable blades the way they have with the ESEE and RAT lines. Their Knife Builder customization truly takes knife distribution to the next level, and both the consumer and the brands in the program can only benefit from it. I’m sure nobody needs to be sold on ESEE knives, their quality and esteem is already legendary in the knife world. My new ESEE 6 instantly became my go to knife for camping and bushcraft related chores. It’s too long for any kind of routine, much less every day carry (EDC), which is why I’d never seriously considered it before. But once the spine is sanded sharp enough to get sparks from firesteel, it’s the absolute perfect knife for most wood processing and holds up to batoning a lot better than I could have expected from it’s thinner blade. The knife strikes a near perfect balance for bushcraft, while maintaining a profile still optimal for hunting or even soldiering, unlike so many conventional bushcraft-specific designs.
The ESEE 6 is made even better by the extremely ergonomic, perfectly textured G10 scales that are exclusive to TKC. I can’t think of another knife I’ve ever held that felt better in my hand. And the blade shipped sharp - sharper than any of the half dozen knives I’ve bought this past year. And TKC’s shipping and handling time was as good as amazon prime, better, in regards to the handling. I fully expect TKC will be getting a lot more of my knife budget in the future.
The sheath is great too. I was a bit concerned about it being made to fit both the Esee 6 and the RAT 7, knowing the RAT 7 is a little longer and the scales between the two are not supposedly interchangeable. But Ethan and Dale put my mind at ease and the fit proved perfect, secure and with no rattle. Kudos to both guys for promptly and tirelessly responding to all my pre-sell inquiries. The lock slider is just icing for better piece of mind during more extreme activities or to prevent someone from pulling your knife from behind.
The only thing the sheath was missing was a pair of soft loops for scout carry. But, a set of leather loops I’d bought off ebay for a BK2 a while back worked perfectly. I should note that one of the metal grommets on the sheath had started to split when I received it, as if crimped a bit too tightly. But it’s a fairly trivial concern and knowing this was the last one of that color they had in stock, I didn’t even consider contacting them about it. I have little doubt that they’d have been just as prompt at resolving the issue as they were at addressing my pre-sell concerns. But, I was too eager to get the sheath set up to suit my needs and put the knife to use. Even if they had more in stock at the time, it wasn’t worth the prolonged gratification to me. I literally felt like a kid with a new toy. Had I thought I’d be so enthusiastic for this knife, I’d have bought one much sooner. And should the grommet continue to split, it shouldn’t be difficult to replace either by the kydex vendor at our local flea market or one of the numerous DIY kits available online.
They might be a little stingy with the paracord leg strap. I’m not a huge guy, but I’m not small either. And I couldn’t get the length of paracord they sent around my neck, much less my leg. I didn’t need it for this knife, since I intend to carry it scout, but I did repurpose it to much heavier knife I use. Fortunately, I bought 100 feet of 550 from TKC at the same time. It’s not military spec (no manufacturer strand, and each of the 7 strands inside are comprised of only 2 twisted strands, instead of 3 as required by branches of the US military), but it looks well made and works just fine for the lashings and lanyards I bought it to make. I love the deep color of their OD green paracord. Mated with an all black FirstEdge 5050, the deep OD green added a nice sense of character more than contrast.
TKC stands out in a heard of online knife vendors offering customization like no other I’ve come across and prices considerably better than even amazon. Even if you just want a stock blade, this seems a company worthy of our trust.